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25 October, 2020

7 Min Read

GS-I : Social issues
Abortion Laws in Poland

Abortion Laws in Poland

  • Recently, women in Poland have been protesting a court ruling that drastically restricts their right to access safe and legal abortions.
  • The existing 1993 abortion law of Poland permits the termination of pregnancy on the grounds of foetal defects.
  • These are already considered some of the strictest laws in Europe and after the enactment of the court’s decision, abortions will only be permitted in cases of rape, incest, or if there is a threat to the mother’s life.

 Abortion Law = Medical Termination of Pregnancy Bill, 2020 amends MTP Act, 1971

  • It is related to abortion, procedures and conditions of abortion. India does not allow free abortions, only when there is a risk of life or substantial abnormalities of child. Hence certification of Medical practitioner.
  • Contradiction of PCPNDT Act, < 18 years allowed to terminate, child diagnosed with diseases after 20 weeks, sometimes rape victims and minors also there. Hence, Amended.

1971 Act and 2020 Bill

  • 1971 Act allowed termination of pregnancy for 20 weeks. But 2020 Bill says 24 weeks.
  • If substantial physical and mental injury to child, or if pregnancy risks or is a grave injury to life of mother, then she can abort.
  • If < 20 weeks (earlier 12) 1 Medical practitioners. If it is in between 20 to 24 weeks (earlier 12 to 24), 2 Medical practitioners. If > 24 weeks then Medical Board's permission.
  • State Govt can make rules. Bill amends this provision to replace 'married woman or her husband' with woman or her partner.
  • Pregnant women with the approval of Medical Board constituted by State govt but rules should be notified by Center. Termination of pregnancy > 24 weeks. It consists of gynacologist, pediatrician, sonographer, radiologist and as per State Govt.
  • Privacy: Her identity should not be disclose except to a person who is authorised by the law. If breach then penalty of 1 year or fine or both.
  • MTP Act divides it regulatory framework for allowing abortions into categories, according to Gestational age of foetus.

Issues in 1971 Act:

  • Reports show that > 10 women die everyday due to unsafe abortions in India and backward abortion laws only contribute to weomen seeking illegal and unsafe options.
  • In 2008, a petition was filed by Haresh and Niketa.= Mehta to abort in 22 week.
  • High Court does not provide women in final say unlike 67 countries where women can get an abortion on request with or without a specific gestation limit (usually 12 weeks).
  • Prejudice against unmarried women - According to Section 3 (2) pregnancy because of failure of any birth control device
  • Issue is that some child's abnormalities is found > 20 weeks.

Still Issues in 2020 Bill

  • It does not allow abortion on request at any point after pregnancy.
  • It doenst take a step towards removing the prejudice against unmarried women.
  • It enhances the gestation limit from 20 to only 24 weeks in crtain cases of women like rape survivors, victims of incest and minors.
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